Discover a Software Developer Degree

Software Developer Degree

Software developers are the creative minds that have fueled society's push into the modern age of computer games, apps, social media websites and more. They help develop everything from the most popular computer and console games to the systems that allow devices to communicate with each other to accomplish a goal. Software developers use charts, models, diagrams, lines of code and meticulous work behind the keyboard of a computer to solve problems big and small - from designing a new Web program for a local business to developing systems to communicate with rovers on Mars.

By studying to pursue a career as a software developer using an online program, you may be able to pursue an education without drastically changing your personal schedule. Online programs vary, but many help bring you into the complex world of software design without harshly disrupting your life in the process. What's more, the courses may be studied at your own pace, which you could find beneficial.

Is an Online Software Developer Degree for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online software developer program.

  • Software developers work in a wide variety of industries with many other professionals, but the work often takes place behind a desk in front of a computer, likely in an office setting at a software publishing company or a computer systems design company.
  • While educational requirements vary, many employers require at least a bachelor's degree. However, some hire workers that show exceptional skill or have proven experience in computer programming, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i].
  • While there are no state-regulated licenses or certifications required for a career in software development, there are other ways in which job candidates gain an advantage in the industry. Many complete internships at software companies to gain greater experience.
  • Attaining a higher position at a company in this field may require significant tech experience and educational accolades. Some employers prefer candidates with master's degrees in computer science or related programs for higher positions.
  • Before signing up for an online program, research whether your prospective institution may provide guidance and education specifically finding internships or gaining relevant experience with current software developing programs.

Software Developer Career Paths and Potential Salaries

There are many career paths you may choose to pursue after attending online courses in software developer programs. As more businesses move their services online and newer technologies become more commonplace, there may be many options available for software developers in the future.

Software Developer[i]

While you may think software development means hours of writing computer code day in and day out, this is just one task a developer may handle. In short, these professionals are in charge of the entire development process of a computer program. They analyze what users need and design, test, and develop systems that instruct other workers about the planning process. This often involves designing flowcharts and diagrams that map out how the project should be coded.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $93,350
  • Job growth through 2022: 22 percent (much faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Computer and Information Research Scientists[ii]

While software developers use the latest strategies to develop computer programs, computer and information research scientists invent and design new uses for computing technology. They are charged with inventing new languages, methods and tools to advance how people can use computers.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $102,190
  • Job growth through 2022: 15 percent (faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

Computer Hardware Engineers[iii]

Unlike software developers, computer hardware engineers focus on the actual components in a computer. They research and develop circuit boards, memory devices, networks, routers and more. They work in high-tech manufacturing firms and are expected to operate at the blistering pace of the highly innovative tech industry.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $100,920
  • Job growth through 2022: 7 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree